Last spring, I bought a dress. Every time I wore it to church, someone told me how cute it was.
I found it at the thrift store. It cost $1.
And, with each compliment I received, I would say, “Thanks. It was $1.” I apparently said this frequently. Last time I was complimented, a nearby woman immediately chimed in: “Tell her how much you paid for it, Megan.”
Why do I do that?
Why do I need to define every purchase as a bargain? Is it sinful pride in my frugality? Probably. But I also think it’s a defensive maneuver in front of the people who pay our bills.
The hardworking people in our church have been very generous to us. But ministry money does feel strange: your friends have a meeting to discuss your salary and then chip in to pay it. (Or, alternatively: you have to travel around the country asking your friends to please pay you.)
For those women (like me!) who are also pros at over-analyzing other people’s looks and comments, a gracious reality check is in order.
They are just not that into you. (And are probably even happy for you.)
If I think about it rationally, nobody even notices my clothes most of the time, and, when they do, their compliments show they are happy for me to have a cute dress.
I Corinthians 13 says love “believes all things” and “hopes all things.” In love, we assume the best.
Feeling financial scrutiny can be a God-given nudge toward generosity.
I have a friend whose ministry depends on the support she and her husband raise. She once told me, “We can’t go out on a date because our supporters wouldn’t like it.” I thought: Wait a minute! We’re your supporters, and we want you to go on a date! This was an opportunity to offer them a restaurant gift card and ourselves as babysitters.
When I feel like I’m under the financial microscope, the Lord is reminding me to cultivate a generous spirit toward others who may be in the same position.
Living before the face of God alone brings freedom.
A hundred people have a hundred different priorities for the right use of money. Thankfully, we serve a God who has one priority: His own glory. (More about the responsibility of this another time.) Instead of spending or saving motivated by man’s conflicting opinions, we can freely focus on living before God alone.
We know another family in ministry who employ a housekeeper. This allows the wife to homeschool her children and assist her husband’s ministry at the university. They have decided that their family can best serve the Lord if the wife doesn’t have to cook and clean. They are making financial choices to please God rather than man—which brings freedom.
So. . .
Last night, at prayer meeting, a church member said to me: “I saw you walking yesterday. You’ve got a nice new jogging stroller there!” The stroller in question is actually one my mom recycled for me six years ago when she found it abandoned with flat tires.
I didn’t explain.